The Guilty Pleasure: Viniq Shimmery Liqueur. Where to Get It: Well-stocked liquor stores and Fry's. Price: $19. What it Really Costs: The bottle is 15 inches! Where the hell am I going to put this thing?
It's hard for new products in the spirits category to stand out. This isn't much of a surprise, given that the contents of a liquor store are literally thousands of varieties of the exact same product. So, spirits makers will resort to any number of gimmicks to make their bottle that much more eye-catching and therefore get ordered in a bar or taken home for enjoyment as both beverage and an ersatz objet d'art.
Some of the more noteworthy ones include Hpnotiq, with a cerulean hue not usually seen outside of waters in the Caribbean Sea, and Galliano, with its nearly 18-inch bottle that can't be missed, but also can't be put on quite a few shelves.
As a rule of thumb, if the gimmick is crazy, the makers of the product spent more time on the gimmick than on encouraging repeat sales through making it taste good.
When I first heard about Viniq, a new liqueur with a truly ridiculous gimmick. It shimmers when you shake the bottle, I had a very strong feeling that the drink itself wasn't going to taste good in the slightest, and that my love of shiny objects would overrule my taste buds and I'd end up with a bottle at home.
Turns out I was right on both counts.
As far as I can tell, Viniq gets its signature shimmer through the addition of powdered mica, a mineral used in baking and cosmetics to give things a pearlescent sheen. The mica settles to the bottom of the bottle, but when you give the bottle a strong swirl, the shimmering effect gets oohs and aahs from anyone nearby.
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A closer inspection of the bottle reveals that Viniq is "a fusion of premium vodka, moscato and natural fruit flavors". Translation: It tastes like sweet cheap wine with a kick of cheap vodka. But like I said, anyone with any drinking experience is going to see that coming before they even open the bottle.
From the color to the flavor to the slender phallic 15-inch bottle, it's pretty obvious that their target market is females in their 20s. I think it's going to do pretty well in that regard. When I was buying a bottle, a sorority girl-looking type said in her stereotypical sorority girl voice that she loved it because she loves how it tastes like moscato wine.
Yeah, it's a total chick drink in every way possible, almost offensively so. But darn it, I like shiny objects. If Viniq gains popularity, I'm almost nervous to see what other special effects spirits makers will come up with to get my attention.